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Family and Relationships

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Home Page > Family and Relationships > Alimony and Palimony

About Alimony


When two people get divorced, the court may order one spouse to help support the other. Spousal support or alimony refers to support paid by one spouse to another to help the other spouse continue to live the way he or she lived while married. Alimony may be awarded to either party in a divorce action. To make this easier to understand, alimony is explained below as if you are the wife and seek alimony from the husband. All the same rules apply whether it is a husband or wife seeking alimony from the other spouse.

Types of Alimony

  1. Permanent alimony - You may be able to get permanent alimony if you are financially dependent and will most likely not be able to support yourself without alimony. You may get alimony for the rest of your life or until you remarry. Either party may apply to the court after the divorce to adjust the amount of alimony where there is a change in the parties’ circumstances.
  2. Limited duration alimony - You may get temporary alimony until the occurrence of a particular event, such as when you get a job. In determining how long to grant alimony, the court must consider how long it will take you to improve your earning capacity so that alimony is no longer needed. The court can change the award based on changed circumstances or if the expected event does not occur. The court can change the amount of the award but will rarely change the length of time for alimony to be paid.
  3. Rehabilitative alimony - You may get temporary rehabilitative alimony if you are likely be able to support yourself after more education or training. You must show the specific steps for rehabilitation and the amount of time they are expected to take. This type of alimony can also be changed based on changed circumstances.
  4. Reimbursement alimony - You can get this type of alimony if you supported your husband through school or training and expected to benefit from his increased income after he finished.

How the court decides about awarding alimony

In deciding whether or not to award alimony, the court should consider a number of factors. These include:

  1. The parties’ needs and ability to pay;
  2. The length of the marriage;
  3. The age and physical and emotional health of both parties;
  4. The standard of living established during the marriage and the parties’ abilities to maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living;
  5. The parties’ earning capacities, educational levels and skills;
  6. The length of time the party seeking alimony has been out of the job market and his or her parental responsibilities;
  7. Each parties’ financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage and any other income available to them;
  8. The equitable distribution of property;
  9. The tax consequences of any alimony award; and
  10. Any other factors the court finds relevant.


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